If, as Christians, we have been “crucified with Christ”, “died to sin”, “died to the law” and we “no longer live” how can we say we must “die to self?”
According to Romans 6:6, “our old self/man was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin…” If who we were in Adam has in fact died in Christ, just what self are we to die to?
The old man/self has already died in Christ and we have been transformed into a new creature in Christ, one who is holy, blameless, forgiven, sanctified, made righteous, complete, etc. So there is no longer any old self/man to die to, right?
On the other hand, we do live in a world full of temptation and pulls on our flesh but the flesh is not who you are! So, if you say, we have to die to what our flesh might be tempted to engage in, I could agree to that. The trouble for me is many Christians think they still have an “old man” that needs to die. According to the Scriptures that simply is not true!
The old man wasn’t merely wounded in Christ, he died in Him! We need to die to the lie of a separate self apart from Christ. That’s what needs to die!
The reason some think they can keep the ten commandments is because they don’t realize they demand perfect obedience and not just the best “you” can do. You see, when God says, “Do not steal” He means ever! Not even a piece of gum. When He says, “Do not lie” He means ever, not even a little. When He says, “Do not covet your neighbors things” He means not even once!
You see, the Ten Commandments demand 100% obedience, so if you have ever lied, stolen or coveted, you have broken the Law and have no hope! But the Good News of Jesus Christ is, He in fact did fulfill the whole Law. This is why He said, “It is finished” from the cross.
“By one offering/sacrifice He has perfected forever those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14).
The perfect demands of the Law are met in those who have placed their faith in the work Jesus did on the cross. By faith we have now died to sin, died to the Law and are free to walk in the Spirit.
So those who claim to keep the Law really don’t understand its demands. Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ and what He did do. We are the ones who know for sure that we need Him because we cannot accomplish the perfection required by the Law. So we live a life of rest and thankfulness for what Christ Himself has done on our behalf!
Have you ever done something and afterwards thought, “Why did I do that? that’s not who I am.” If that wasn’t you who was it?
The Apostle Paul discovered it was sin in him but not the real “him.” He said, “If I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me” (Romans 7:20). Once Paul discovered this he cried out for deliverance saying, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). Then it’s as if he remembered he was already free in Christ, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).
After seeing that it was not really “he” but “sin” in him, he remembered Christ had already set him free. Now, Paul says, “It is no longer I but Christ who lives” (Galatians 2:20). Either way it’s not only “I” ever, because we are always joined to another. We are either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness (Romans 6:18). We are either producing fruit for death or fruit for God (Romans 7:4-5). We are joined to the True Vine or another but we are always a branch (John 15:1-5). We are operating according to “the spirit of truth” or “the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6).
We were not created to operate independently. We humans are built for union with God. In the fall, that union was severed but it doesn’t mean we are independent, it means we were deceived. The Satanic lie is, “You can be like God.” In other words, you can be independent like God. This is what Satan wanted all along (Isaiah 14:12-15) so he tricks man into being in union with him but he can’t do it openly for fear of being discovered. So, the father of lies, lies! He deceives us into thinking we’re in charge of ourselves when the reality is we are simply doing his bidding all along. He speaks to us in the first person so we think it’s our ideas when the truth is we “are doing the lusts of our father the devil” (John 8:44).
We are his slave, producing his fruit and getting to share in the consequences. Once we hear the Good news that Jesus Christ became “sin” so we can become the “righteousness” of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21), we are freed! We by faith claim we have died to sin! (Romans 6:7) We have been rescued from the dominion of darkness! (Colossians 1:13) We have been forgiven, freed from Satan’s dominion and have received an inheritance among those who have bee sanctified by faith in Christ (Acts 26:18).
The Cross worked!!
So many say things like “nobody’s perfect, I’m only human“ as if being human is their problem or maybe being human is a bad thing. God created us to be human in His image and said “It is good.” Being human is not a bad thing at all. What’s “bad” or “wrong” is that the fall found us a slave to sin. So being born again doesn’t really change our fundamental humanity rather it frees us from being a slave to sin. Now, our humanity is in it’s correct place by being joined to Christ and we are now a “slave to righteousness.” We were one with “the spirit of error” , now we‘re one with “the spirit of truth.”
When someone says, “I’m only human” I think to myself, what is really underneath that statement? Are they saying, “I should be more than human?” I wonder if this comes from the root lie of “The day you eat of this you will be as god?” Could it be that God’s plan all along has been to live within, and joined to humanity? Maybe it really is true that God’s “power is perfected in our human weakness.” What do you think would happen if we simply learned to rest in our being weak, limited men? The Apostle Paul not only rested in it, he gloried in it! He said, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”